Yes, I have been hinting at it for a while now. That Ghoul Ava is being brought to life in the graphic novel format. I am pretty sure she will make her debut in 2017. So, I thought that it would be fitting to meet the amazing talent that has stepped in and offered his amazing skills to what I hope is a long and successful partnership.
One of the things that I learned early on (quite by accident) is that everybody sees a character they meet in a book differently. While I do hope that some of the core That Ghoul Ava fan base comes along for this part of the ride, I am also hoping that we bring in a new audience to expand her exposure. I am a fan of JDC. His art blew me away the first time I saw it at a convention, and when he agreed to bring Ava to life, I took it as an incredible honor. I am proud to reveal to panels that he has given me to share with you today. These have not been given their color yet, but you will at least get a good idea of what is coming. If you have not done so yet, please welcome John to the family. And I want to go on record as saying that the fact that his wife is an amazing baker had no influence over my love of his art. I am always excited and proud to show guests in my home a couple of my very own JDC pieces. And for my 51st birthday, he gifted me with a hand drawn Ava portrait that sits on my desk now and even earned a line in my will. Yeah, I cherish it that much.
When did you discover your talent as an artist? And was there anybody that gave you a nudge to pursue it??
My parents were always supportive and I have wonderful art teachers in high-school, but I’ve always had the art compulsion. I have several influences like Mœbius, Bernie Wrightson, and Geof Darrow.
The social media is…
The social media is the lifeblood of the artist. There are numerous ways to network, update, and learn on social media. The artist must learn how to use it properly and ALWAYS act as a professional. What you say on the web will certainly come back to bite you in the ass one day.
Share some information about your individual work on projects besides the one you are doing with me:
I’m doing some very enjoyable work for 20th Century Fox concerning international movie posters for some of my favourite films.
I’m also developing some additional comic properties of my own along with an animation project. In this age, the artist must establish their own intellectual properties.
What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals who know you are an artist?
Will you work on my project for exposure and a piece of the end money? People don’t understand that almost all artists have their own properties they want to do and ideas really are a dime a dozen. I never take on a project unless I have carefully considered the pros and cons. It is my choice when I want to venture into a project. I will always consider a project, but I rarely take on something that is not my own IP.
Ava is a special exception.
So, let’s talk a little about the Ava series. I am looking forward to several Ava books (number eight is currently being written) with you. What was the deciding factor(s) that led you to accept this project?
Ava is similar in aspects to the Dresden Files and I see a lot of potential with the character. Also, I don’t believe this type of series has been done with a ghoul and I found that unique.
Any moments that stand out for you in That Ghoul Ava?
Oddly, the first few scenes where she woke in the bathroom and looked at herself for the first time.
How would you describe Ava to friends?
She is a wise-cracking ghoul with a brassy personality and quite the sloppy eater.
What are some of the biggest challenges to converting a story to a graphic novel?
Most people don’t understand that much of a novel is impossible to convert to film and comics. These are visual mediums and what a character things is difficult to translate. It adds color to a novel, but can be boring in a visual medium. I worked hard to find ways to translate concepts such as Ava’s sensory cues when she smells food.
What is one thing about you that would surprise individuals who do not know you personally?
I am terrifically aggressive on projects and I demand the same of others I work with. No one is harder on myself than I am. If I don’t like something, I will trash it no matter how much work I put into it. I’ve trashed much of the Ava artwork over and over because I wasn’t happy.
A quick story…
I was hired to construct a scratch model of the Nautilus from Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Seas for a friend. I built twenty or so versions and trashed them all. I delivered the final version three years later once I was satisfied it was a pleasing version.
I am OCD when it comes to quality.
One of the biggest criticisms regarding Ava is that she is a bit politically incorrect? Did you get that vibe? How did you see it?
I didn’t at all. However, I don’t listen to commentary. Everyone has an opinion and can become quite possessive over characters or properties they enjoy. However, the creator of said property gets the say on what and how things unfold. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. No one is forcing anyone to buy product they don’t enjoy. This just isn’t for you.
I took a lot of heat over some early work of Ava that fans weren’t happy with. I’m not being flippant here, but I don’t care. These comics take nothing away from the books that fans have enjoyed. These just aren’t for everyone. You and I have communicated extensively on Ava, the development of the look, and the adaptation that I wrote. The creator of the original concept was thoroughly involved and approved every step of the way. That is the only commentary or input I’m looking for. Creative cannot make everyone happy and we should never try.
I will discuss and converse happily with fans, but I will block a troll in a heartbeat if things get ugly. I have no time or inclination to indulge. I recommend they create their own property that follows how they feel their own story should go.
I also have the opinion that fan fiction should not exist and I hope Ava is never taken over that way.
Here is my portfolio link for whatever you like J